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A process that I have found useful over the years, especially in big fields, is to identify how available energy is expended in the running of a race. This can be done with some simple arithmetic, replays, charts & PPs. I know some of you have got this in your bag of tricks already but for those who don't I write.
I left out Dueling because we all can identify a duel. The only thing that is pertinent is with two or even 3 confirmed front runners in a duel is: who will survive the duel? If a horse is accustomed to run on the front in :22 & change - :45 & change, he forces the horse who is accustomed to running on the front in :23 & change & :47 caught now dueling to go outside his pace comfort zone & the high probability is: that one will relent.
It's good to be able to identify a pressing horse from one simply attending or one chasing the pace. The same basic process is used. Watch the replays, read the charts, do some arithmetic & check the PPs for profiles. Who will survive these pace skirmishes throughout the race is vital to know, if possible. I would prefer the horse, for example, with a pace profile which indicates he can attend the pace set by front runners in his preferred position than the horse who likes to run in the same position relative to the front but whose pace profile indicates he will have to chase to keep the position he prefers. Obviously, the chaser is spending more available energy than the horse cruising to attend. This happens all around the track. Also, this happens among the mid-pack horses. One doesn't have to look at the closers until each one moves then the same process can be used to identify who has the widest pace comfort zone in the closing stages.
I have found this practice to be more useful than simply taking, for example, the BRIS pace classifications at face value.
Very interesting stuff Steve, thanks!
No problem, Bet. I must try to contribute somewhere since I shamelessly sponge the breeding & pedigree knowledge that is shared by others (like you).
There are subtleties. In the dueling example, for instance, if the "faster" horse in that sectional chooses to allow the "slower" horse to actually set the pace then it's only a visual duel. The faster horse is actually attending the pace set by the other. He can jump ahead at will.
And that's where the past performances come in handy. Do they always have to be in first regardless of pace, etc. Its fun to try to get a handle on but can involve a lot of guesswork and takes some patience. Which is probably why I only attempt it once or twice a year ;)
can involve a lot of guesswork
All handicapping is guesswork which runs the gamut from a blind stab to a fully researched, educated guess.
Handicapping sounds better than guessing. :)
When one considers the variables & intangibles in a robust field, the best one can accomplish, after due diligence, is assign rough probabilities & attempt to find value. No perceived value, no wager.
Then, construct a bet or bets that maximize the chance to score.
Steve, I found your analysis interesting. As the Fla. Derby approaches, I am still trying to analyze Catholic Boy's defeat in the Sam Davis. Using your reasoning as I understand it, the race wasn't lost because of the easy fractions afforded Flameaway as was postulated by most analysts. Catholic Boy was closer to the pace than in any of his previous races, which should have compensated for the leisurely first quarter. However, Franco chose to move earlier, keeping the horse in the clear, from the second to the fourth quarters. Unfortunately for him, Flameaway picked up the pace, so Catholic Boy wound up making an early move into two sub-24 quarters. Since Flameaway was on the rail, and Catholic Boy was wide, CB only made up a couple of lengths, while working significantly harder to pull even at the top of the stretch. As a result, he couldn't get by the leader. All in all, he ran a strong race, and if Thomas is correct that the horse was a bit short, he deserves even more credit. I don't know if Franco deserves the blame for the loss, to a degree where he should lose the mount.
I feel a little better about CB's chances Saturday, especially if the pace is more contentious, which I hope it will be with Strike Power on the rail, and Promises Fulfilled intent on the lead according to Romans. If Catholic Boy is a fitter horse, like he was at the end of his juvenile campaign, he could possibly overcome a possible track bias. Audible is my main concern, as he should also benefit from a lively pace, unless he attends to closely and loses some of his starch. His late pace numbers in the Holy Bull were exceptional based on his closing times.
I like your handicapping methods, but if I could, I would add one more component to factor in....trip! In the Sam Davis, I believe the difference in the race was due to distance run between Flameaway and Catholic Boy, combined with the internal fractions that I believe were not to CB's benefit(available energy spent). So I think a good acronym to use for your method as I will use it, is PACT(pace, attending, chasing, trip). Thank you for your insights!
CB's last race is one i watched and to be fair to the jock the only race
of CB's i have seen.
My thought was the Jock doesn't fit the horse and a D grade ride.
if he doesn't serve CB saturday, he needs a new rider
and hopefully he learned something in his last race.
Unfortunately for him, Flameaway picked up the pace, so Catholic Boy wound up making an early move into two sub-24 quarters. Since Flameaway was on the rail, and Catholic Boy was wide, CB only made up a couple of lengths, while working significantly harder to pull even at the top of the stretch.
Good analysis overall & what I quoted from you is the key in my view, as well. Plus, a very shaky ride in terms of decision-making. If you're going to make run, you have to try to make it count.
I usually handle trip as a stand alone analysis only because the other stuff is all about pace. To keep it simple since it's hard to quantify, I use 3 designations only for Trip. (G)ood trip, (N)eutral trip, (B)ad trip. All replay work & reading chart notes. If a horse gets a dream trip on the best part of the track it's rare I don't downgrade the performance. The same logic in reverse for a bad trip. Most trips are neutral.